Historic Royal Palaces announced on Monday that “with deep regret” the charity has entered into a period of consultation on proposed redundancies.
The independent charity manages Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kew Palace, Banqueting House, and Hillsborough Castle. Due to the pandemic, these properties were closed for months and suffered a devastating loss in tourist income.
The charity said they are now forecasting an 89 percent reduction in income, at just around £10 million of an expected £110 million predicted for 2020.
“At the beginning of this year, like so many other organisations in our sector, we could never have imagined we would be in this position,” a statement from Historic Palaces said. “We were forecasting income of £110 million and looking forward to a busy year of exhibitions and events. However, as an entirely self-funded charity, we have been particularly badly hit by the pandemic – both by the closure of our six sites for a prolonged period and by the major downturn in international tourism.”
“We expect our recovery to take several years, and that means we must plan to live within half our usual income,” Historic Royal Palaces said. “We have no choice but to take measures to reduce our costs.”
Stating that they have “exhausted all other means available,” the charity announced they must reduce jobs at their sites. Payroll accounts for about half of Historic Royal Palaces’ costs, according to the organisation, and measures already taken in place include freezing recruitment, ending seasonal contracts, and making temporary adjustments to pay and pensions. However, further cuts need to be made for the charity to recover.
“The restructuring proposals include a reduction of 86 full time equivalents out of the full complement of 1,165, (this equates to 145 roles potentially at risk of redundancy) plus other changes to terms and conditions,” Historic Royal Palaces said, noting that final decisions will be made once the 45-day consultation is complete.
‘At every stage of this crisis, we have tried to limit the impact of the financial challenges on our staff, who care passionately about the palaces and our work,” John Barnes, Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces said. “If we are to continue this work, we must act now to reduce payroll costs and make the charity financially sustainable. We are privileged to be the guardians of six remarkable places, but the dedicated team who care for them are the spirit of our charity, and we are deeply sad that it has come to this.”